Registration is Open for Rural Strengths and Challenges Virtual Seminar Series

Registration is now open for the Health and Wellbeing: Rural Strengths and Challenges Virtual Seminar Series, hosted by the UK Center of Excellence in Rural Health Research Committee, with representation from the UK Colleges of Health Sciences, Public Health, Social Work and Medicine.

This seminar series will explore and discuss the intersection between science, community culture and traditions, policy and politics on the long-term health, healthcare, community participation, and quality of life of individuals living in rural communities. Not only will the challenges and barriers be discussed, but also the local supports and “Bright Spots” that are examples of how to get the job done.

Registration links and speaker information for each session are detailed below.  All events are from 2- 3pm, EST.  For questions, contact Dr. Patrick Kitzman at or Melissa Slone at

What is rural and rural well-being?

Feb. 3, 2021: Myths/Cultural Aspects around Rural Well-being

Click Here to Register

Randy Wykoff, MD, MPH & TM became the founding dean, College of Public Health at East Tennessee State University in 2006 and, concurrently, the Executive Director of the ETSU Center for Rural Health Research in 2019. He is a physician, board certified in both Pediatrics and Preventive Medicine, with additional training and certification in Tropical Medicine.

Michael Meit serves as Director of Research and Programs for the East Tennessee State University Center for Rural Health Research, Senior Fellow at NORC at the University of Chicago, and Deputy Director for ETSU’s HRSA-funded Rural Health Research Center, the ETSU/NORC Rural Health Equity Research Center. Michael began his public health career with the Pennsylvania Department of Health, followed by the National Association of County and City Health Officials.

March 3, 2021: Interventions- Disability and Accessibility

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Patrick Kitzman, PhD, MSPT is a Professor in the UK Physical Therapy Program where his teaching and research focus on individuals with disabilities related to conditions such as spinal cord injury (SCI), stroke, and traumatic brain injury (TBI). In 2008 he co-founded the Kentucky Appalachian Rural Rehabilitation Network (KARRN), a network of people with SCI, stroke and TBI, healthcare providers, educators, researchers, state and local organizations and other community stakeholders committed to the health and well-being of people with disabilities, especially those in rural and underserved communities. Since its inception, Dr. Kitzman has served as the Director of KARRN.

March 10, 2021: Interventions- Kentucky Homeplace Program
(Rescheduled from February 17, 2021)

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William Mace Baker is the Director of the Kentucky Homeplace Program at the University of Kentucky Center of Excellence in Rural Health in Hazard, KY. He directs the Kentucky Homeplace program which consists of 23 community health workers (CHWs) covering 30 counties in the Appalachian region of Eastern Kentucky. He facilitates the Kentucky Homeplace CHW training.

March 17, 2021: Panel of community and academic partners

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Jason Jones is a staff member for the UK Human Development Institute as an advocacy specialist and as the project coordinator for Kentucky Works Partnerships in Employment as well as the Southeast ADA Affiliate for Kentucky. Advocacy for people with paralysis is very personal to Jones, who was a four-sport athlete in high school before an accident involving the high-jump resulted in his becoming a quadriplegic in 1990. Jones co-founded the Kentucky Congress on Spinal Cord Injury (KCSCI) in 2012. The purpose of the KCSCI is to gather individuals with SCI from around the Commonwealth to join in the discussion of critical quality of life issues that are important to everyone.

Ramona Carper, PT, DPT is an Assistant professor at the UK College of Health Sciences. Her areas of teaching include ethics and physical therapy administration. Prior to her appointment in the college, she spent 20+ years working in a rural outpatient physical therapy facility where she gained additional experience in settings including acute care, school-based pediatrics, SNF, home health and onsite industry. She was also involved in management, having functioned as a clinic director and co-owner of the business. She is also active in the American Physical Therapy Association, where she currently serves the Kentucky chapter as the legislative chair and has previously served as the chapter president.

Scott Lockard is the Public Health Director of the Kentucky River District Health Department (KRDHD). He has over 30 years’ experience in public health. Prior to coming to KRDHD, he served as the Director of the Clark County Health Department for 12 years. He has also served as adjunct faculty in the College of Social Work at Morehead State University and the University of Kentucky. He is a 2006 graduate of the Kentucky Public Health Leadership Institute and a 2011 graduate of the National Public Health Leadership Institute. He is a past president of the Kentucky Public Health Association and the Kentucky Health Departments Association.

Registration for the second set in the series will open in February

Topics and Save the Dates:

Health Issues and Rural Disparities

 March 31, 2021: Kentucky’s Preventable Diseases and Key Risk Factors
Center for Disease Control and Prevention

 April 14, 2021: Interventions- Cancer Research in Rural Kentucky
National Cancer Institute
University of Kentucky Prevention Research Center

 April 28, 2021: Interventions- Substance Use Disorder in Rural Kentucky
University of Kentucky College of Medicine

May 5, 2021: Panel of community and academic partners
To Be Announced